Switched-on Gutenberg Vol. 6, No. 2
Wish You Were Here

Jalisco, Mexico

I wish you were here
to walk the cobbled road with me, toward
the Tequila Factory. It’s Sunday.

Dust has ruined place settings
for the picnic after Mass. The sun
made this town, across the street from a resort.

Consider the poor—their dogs skinny
as coyotes in doorways, their towels hung out
to dry like frayed flags.

This would be where the maid lives,
you’d whisper, if you were here.
With her quiet voice and the bright lipstick

that costs sixteen pesos in a shop
even darker than her eyes—yes, you
would say, this is where the hotel help was raised.

I wish you were here to see a pelican
spit out a stone
and swallow a striped fish.

In the evenings we’d leave our balcony
to listen to violins and trumpets—the drunk singer
always cheerful, if a little flat.

We’d drink Coronas,
then walk to John Huston’s,
or, even better,

to the other place, the set
where Liz Taylor began her first affair
with Richard Burton

while filming Night of the Iguana.

Copyright 2004,  Judith Skillman

Judith Skillman is the author of seven books of poems. Her Tic Douloureux: New & Selected Poems 1985–2005 will be published in late 2005 by Silverfish Review Press. She has received grants from The Academy of American Poets, The Washington State Arts Commission, Centrum, and The King County Arts Commission.


<< Previous Contents Next >>